Ōtūmoetai Barbarians first XV have made a flying start to the 2021 rugby season, scoring 219 points in their first four matches while conceding just 24.
Adding further momentum to the rugby programme and giving the first XV a boost, the Barbarians welcomed All Blacks coach Ian Foster for a team training last week.
Head coach Richard Brown said Foster visited last year and it was "a privilege for our young men to have the All Black coach passing on his wisdom".
"In 2020, our young side, made up mainly of Year 11s, went on to make the semifinals," he said.
"Our rugby programme is not just about on-field results, we aspire to promote rugby, grow numbers, foster a love for the game, connect with our community, give back and embed life-long values into our players."
Brown said the training taken by Foster was exceptional.
"Ian was relatable, engaging and humorous," he said.
"Our players found him truly inspirational. The training was watched by many students and athletes from the school as well as students from Ōtūmoetai Intermediate. Parents and whānau of our community were also in attendance."
Later that evening, the Barbarians Advisory Committee held their annual corporate fundraising event with "The Big Three" of New Zealand rugby; Ian Foster, Sam Cane and Mark Robinson.
The function, held at the Mount Maunganui Golf Club, raised about $40,000.
Money raised goes towards growing the game via the school's academy, hardship grants, internal tours, replacing gear, providing apparel for all players and giving some back to the community. Some of the evening's proceeds went to Good Neighbour.
The Barbarians are looking to develop quality rugby players and good young people and have partnered with local charity Good Neighbour. The players and parents support the charity by offering support for community projects.
"The team wants to do well on the field, but we want to contribute off the field and make a difference," Brown said.
Ōtūmoetai Barbarians Advisory Group chairman Pete Blackwell paid credit to Foster's support of the 2020 fundraiser.
"This year we have aimed to increase the profile of rugby," he said.
"Fozzie's involvement in 2020 and with the money we raised through our fundraiser, in addition to our generous sponsors, old boys Sean Lett (2Wel and Hydra), Dean Waddell (Pak'nSave, Cameron Rd) and Mark Francis (Tremains Real Estate) we started a Rugby Academy.
"We had approximately 50 students, both male and female, completing strength and conditioning training and incorporated rugby skills with specialist coaches into the programme.
"We are fitter this year, developing our skills and knowledge of the game and working harder to develop a sustainable rugby programme.
"The first XV have started well and we are building depth with our junior programme."
Instrumental in the success of the 2021 evening were Bryce Lawrence, Pete Blackwell and Paul Geoghegan.
"Their community connections, organisation and vision ensured for an evening of entertainment and success," Brown said.